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A Fond Farewell to Roylene Marvel

Carla Markell
Roylene Marvel

From the beginning, Roylene Marvel, Judicial Assistant to Chief Justice Steele, remembers wanting to be a legal secretary -- Della Street of Perry Mason fame to be exact. Born and raised in California, Roylene fed her love of the law by attending a local business school where she honed her skills as a legal assistant taking a job with a California law firm after graduation. Roylene met her husband, who was just finishing a tour in Vietnam, while vacationing in Hawaii. They returned to his native Delaware where she has lived for 43 years.

Her first legal job in Delaware was with the former Justice Henry R. Horsey at Morris, James, Hitchens & Williams, LLP, followed by a brief stint at Schmittinger & Rodriguez, P.A. Roylene left the legal profession to work at the Delaware Technology Community College where she also attended classes. But it wasn't long before she answered an ad in the paper for the position of legal secretary at Prickett, Jones, Elliott, Kristol & Schnee where she first met Chief Justice Myron T. Steele. Except for a brief hiatus when Chief Justice Steele joined the Delaware Superior Court, Roylene has worked with the Chief Justice for over 30 years. With the Chief Justice’s moves from Superior Court to the Court of Chancery and on to the Supreme Court, first as Justice and then Chief Justice, Roylene states that she’s loved the challenge of each move. With each new role came new responsibilities.

“The Chief Justice’s relationship with his clerks (fondly referred to as the Knuckleheads) is extraordinary. He treats them like they are family and the relationship continues on well beyond the clerkship. Being part of that is one of the things I will miss most about the job.”

Roylene Marvel

Roylene laments that there have been plenty of changes in the practice of law since those first days in Dover when the use of carbon paper and typing erasers were all the rage. She received her CAP Certification (Certified Administrative Professional) in 1980 and has been a Charter Member of First State Chapter, IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals) since 1979; she credits this organization with helping her keep abreast of the latest trends.

As for the Chief Justice, Roylene notes that she has enjoyed working with him every step of the way. Roylene describes the Chief Justice as a patient teacher and says that fact alone made the various transitions so much easier. She notes that one of the things she admires most about the Chief Justice is his ability to teach and mentor others, adding "He has always encouraged me to ask questions when I needed to." The Chief Justice’s "open door policy" extends to his law clerks as well. Roylene notes that she has learned so much over the years and enjoyed each and every challenge. "One of the most important things that I have learned from the Chief Justice is to acknowledge one's mistakes as opposed to hiding from them….He has always emphasized the importance of facing one's responsibilities head on, asking for guidance when necessary and admitting mistakes. These three things are critical to doing any job well." Roylene looks forward to the next leg of the journey with the Chief Justice, wherever that may take her.

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